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September 10, 2013

CRS Prepares Report on National Nanotechnology Initiative

Lynn L. Bergeson

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) prepared an August 9, 2013, report entitled The National Nanotechnology Initiative: Overview, Reauthorization, and Appropriations Issues. According to the report, from fiscal year (FY) 2001 through FY 2013, the federal government invested approximately $17.9 billion in nanoscale science, engineering, and technology through the U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI). President Obama has requested $1.7 billion in NNI funding for FY 2014. While the 109th, 110th, and 111th Congresses considered legislation reauthorizing the NNI, none of the bills passed. The report recommends that if the 113th Congress considers legislation reauthorizing the NNI, it may wish to consider “budget authorization levels for the covered agencies; [research and development] funding levels, priorities, and balance across the program component areas; administration and management of the NNI; translation of research results and early-stage technology into commercially viable applications; environmental, health, and safety issues; ethical, legal, and societal implications; education and training for the nanotechnology workforce; metrology, standards, and nomenclature; public understanding; and international dimensions.” The report states that “[c]onsideration may also be given to the establishment of an independent review panel and to coordination of the timing for the [National Nanotechnology Advisory Panel] assessment, the [National Research Council] assessment, and the [Nanoscale Science, Engineering and Technology] Subcommittee’s strategic plan for the NNI.”